Russia assesses the potential of Chinese UnionPay payment system

01.08.2022 | 14:11 Home / News / Fintech /
#Russia #UnionPay
Given various factors, UnionPay - the Chinese payment system - can take up to 5-8% of the payment card market in Russia if Visa and MasterCard do not return back in the near future.

Vice-President of the Association of Banks of Russia Alexey Voylukov told Izvestia about that. He noted that now 11 banks can officially issue such cards, and a number of organizations are undergoing approval procedures with the payment system.

Evgeny Romanov, a leading analyst for banking ratings at Expert RA, believes that demand for UnionPay cards will depend on the cost of the issue. However, when purchasing such “plastic”, one needs to understand that, first of all, it is intended for tourism. The card can be used in a shopping center or a large store in other countries, but in small markets some difficulties may arise, he noted.

Besides, it should be remembered that a limited number of banks can work with this payment system, and that payments may be blocked for users from Russia by some sites for political reasons, warned Romanov. Otherwise, on popular routes, especially those mastered by the Chinese, there should be no problems with their use, the expert believes.



According to the analyst, China’s fears about risks of sanctions by the US and the desire to maintain the achieved positions of UnionPay cards in the markets of the leading countries of the world will force it to act with caution and consistency, with an eye on Washington’s reaction. Therefore, the approval of Russian banks’ applications will be controlled.

Excessive demand for UnionPay cards in the spring persisted, despite the high cost of their issue - up to 30 thousand rubles in some banks, said Igor Pan, specialist in digital assets of the Finmir marketplace. In the future, the growth in the number of market participants issuing such cards will beat down the prices for their purchase and maintenance, he said.

Pricing is a market process that will regulate itself, bringing the cost of cards to a minimum, and there is no point in interference of the Federal Antimonopoly Service or the Central Bank, Pan said. Now the price for UnionPay cards in Russian banks is in the range of 1.2-10 thousand rubles, and their maintenance is from 99 rubles and more.

The high rate of issuing the new “plastic” UnionPay is maintained: since the beginning of 2022, more than 85 thousand cards have been issued, including co-badged Mir-UnionPay, Rosselkhozbank reported. And Post Bank issues about 10,000 such cards monthly.

This bank noted that from March to June 2022, customers spent about 4 billion rubles on cards of the Chinese payment system, of which more than 90% were spent abroad and in foreign stores.

Most often, the owners of such cards spent money on replenishing e-wallets, buying air tickets, clothes, business services and car parts, the bank noted. The largest number of UnionPay card operations was made in Italy, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and the Netherlands. In June, the average check for purchases on cards abroad amounted to 15.6 thousand rubles, and the amount of cash withdrawals - more than 26 thousand rubles.

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